An often-cited statistic is that 80% of CEOs believe they deliver a superior customer experience, yet only 8% of their customers agree. With an equally-alarming ACSI score of 77, it’s fair to wonder: are you sure you know what’s going on with your CX—is it possible you’re missing something?
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With the dramatic success of startups like Dropbox, Groupon and Twitter, many people are wondering, what’s their secret? Forrester’s Kerry Bodine took note of one innovative approach shared by all three companies: these newer companies seek to actively brand and engage customer feelings at even minor customer touchpoints such as the confirmation email, bill, etc. This attention to managing brand detail could be driving heightened loyalty and advocacy levels.

Certainly, this idea of branding customer touchpoints has made its way into the zeitgeist with Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describing the “telephone as one of best branding devices out there” and other marketers quick to point to the power of customer experience branding.

But the biggest companies mostly leave their customer touchpoints untapped for their brand value and when it comes to customer service (the most memorable of all touchpoints), branding is often completely ignored.

Bodine argues that these opportunities are squandered because large corporations are crippled by too many silos, over-concerned with the demands of ROI and lacking customer focus.

As Customer Experience Analysts, we find these factors are contributive, but hardly the root cause. The real reason why large corporations tend to lag when it comes to touchpoint branding is that corporations largely subscribe to an antiquated notion that engaging customers’ feelings belongs in the back room, not the board room.

Until CEOs and COOs start asking essential customer experience branding questions, like “what percent of our customer interactions are branded?” “how engaging are our frontline reps?” or “have we trained our customer service reps to deliver our core marketing messages?”, these large companies won’t have the institutional inertia to carry their big marketing ideas through to the front line.  And that means they won’t be able to keep up with the hip Zappos-types and Dropboxes of the world.

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